Padraig Harrington won yesterday’s British Open.
The dread phrase was there. It was always lurking around, waiting to pounce, but it didn’t take long for it to rear its ugly, stupid head. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I present you with the most stupid, corny, over-used, and damn-near-racist phrase uttered every time an Irishman or Irish woman achieves anything of note. That phrase is: “the luck of the Irish”.
Go to Google news and type in “Padraig Harrington” “luck of the Irish” and you get dozens of articles. They are written by otherwise semi-intelligent reporters. So why do they do it? Is it laziness? Ignorance? Racism? (No, surely not!) It is probably just a combination of laziness and lack of creativity. Here are some of the offenders:
The fact is, it has nothing to do with luck. (As pointed out very cleverly in a great article here: http://www.onlineathens.com/stories/072307/sports_20070723045.shtml). It has to do with courage, talent, hard work, nerves, constant travel, experience, practice, and sheer bloody mindedness. It has NOTHING to do with LUCK.
And, secondly, how can an entire race be described as “lucky”? Forgive me please, but how did experiencing a famine in the 19th century constitute “luck”? Or mass emigration and huge unemployment in the 20th century? I could go on, but you get the point.
The phrase is stupid and lazy, and demeaning.
Meanwhile, I am very, very proud of Padraig Harrington. He has been Ireland’s greatest-ever golfer for the last ten years but now he is up there in the pantheon of superstars of Irish sport, alongside Ronnie Delany, Eamonn Coghlan, Sonia O’Sullivan, Paul McGrath, Roy Keane, and others. Well done Padraig!